(Last Updated On: July 25, 2014)
Star Pass is one of those places you don’t forget. The scenery is stunning and rivals our most famous mountain biking trail, 401. So, when my friends asked me to join them on a Star Pass Loop bike ride, I decided to chance it, even though I knew the timing would be tight for me to fit it in before work.
Chrissy and Heather began from town just after 8 am. I began at the same time from Brush Creek trailhead, leaving a car there so I could use it to get to work faster at the end of the ride. From there, we rode down HWY 135 to Cement Creek Road, taking the Cement Creek Trail (which parallels the road) when it was available. The upper Cement Creek Trail was beautiful and full of wildflowers.
Heather riding upper Cement Creek Trail with flowers all around her.
The trail was surrounded by low-lying wildflowers.
Heather riding, with Hunter’s Hill in the distance.
After the Upper Cement Creek Trail ended, we followed the Cement Creek road for a couple of miles to the Crystal Peak Trail (583), which ascended steeply.
The trail was steep enough and the dirt loose enough to warrant walking a few times.
But, it was hard not to pause to admire the unusual foliage. The alien-style plants in this photo are actually “musk thistles”.
We were able to ride our way up the last bit of Crystal Peak trail to the saddle.
The views on the Crystal Peak trail saddle were well-worth the climb. Star Peak and Taylor with alpine sunflowers in the foreground.
Looking toward Italian from the saddle.
Heather, Chrissy, and Me on top of the Crystal Peak trail saddle.
After a short break, we began traversing over to Star Pass. Heather.
Heather riding the last pitch to the pass.
Looking back toward the Crystal Peak trail saddle.
The views from Star Pass were also spectacular.
There, I had to leave Heather and Chrissy. It was time for me to hustle my way to work, while Chrissy and Heather would take a more leisurely approach to the descent. The good thing – it was ALL downhill from here….. for the most part. I began descending trail 400 (Brush Creek Trail) solo.
A look back toward Star Pass. If you look close, you can still see Chrissy and Heather enjoying the cloudless day.
This trail also had its beautiful moments.
Eventually, I descended into the forest.
And I continued onward…
to meet up with Brush Creek Road which I followed back to my parked car…. arriving just in time to make it to work:)
Star Pass is one of my favorite areas for mountain biking. I love being able to ride a fairly long distance in the high alpine. Is it the most beautiful ride in Crested Butte? Quite possibly. But, you should come find out for yourself 🙂
Star Pass Alternatives
The Star Pass Loop is quite a long ride. It took me 6 hours to complete this loop (including rest stops), and 7 hours for my friends to complete. Additionally, well over half the miles and nearly half the time is spent riding on a road. I prefer to spend more time riding single track if possible. The Star Pass / Hunter Creek combo we discovered last year is a great alternative as it travels almost entirely on single track and is considerably shorter.
Which do I prefer? I prefer Star Pass / Hunter Creek. Why? Less road! And the descent on Hunter Creek is steeper and more technical than trail 400 (Brush Creek Trail).